With the number of books out there, book bloggers provide a welcomed service to both readers and authors. They wade through the slush pile of published books so readers can get a better idea as to which novel they should pick up next. They offer desperately needed exposure to authors who may not get it otherwise.
And this is a big BUT. But more and more are refusing to review books by indie authors or authors they haven't worked with before. Why? Because there are authors who've called them names, threatened them, set out internet campaigns against them. And the book bloggers have had enough. They do this on their own time. They don't need that kind of crap. Yes, I'm sure there are bloggers that write hurtful or ridiculous reviews -- I won't defend them. (But I won't defend authors who can't write or proofread, either.) However, most book bloggers are respectful, even if the review is negative.
The whole thing pisses me off. It pisses me off that authors have acted like toddlers and thrown tantrums when a reviewer doesn't like their work. It pisses me off that they've done it often enough to have closed off reviewing opportunities for the rest of us. And it pisses me off that as an indie author, I am put in the same category as those writers who have been behaving badly. That many of the blogs I do follow -- many that I feel would be a great fit for my novel -- when I go to review guidelines I am greeted with the message I DO NOT REVIEW INDIE AUTHORS or DUE TO PAST EXPERIENCE, WE TAKE NO REQUESTS INVOLVING SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS.
I can't blame them. But it's unfortunate, since indies really need book bloggers behind us. We don't have ad campaigns by major publishers to get our names out there. Our books aren't in Target or Walmart or other places people just might come across them randomly, when shopping for something else.
Self-publishing has exploded. There are more and more books out there every year. Which means there will be a lot more bad with the good. And that more than ever, we'll need bloggers to help guide readers through the mass. Yet it also means that there will be more and more authors acting like idiots.
I don't know what the future of book blogging and indie authors looks like. But I do know that only a month and a half into my publishing venture I am extremely grateful to the generous bloggers who have posted on my book. Every second of my time is consumed with the worry that no one will discover Untethered out there amid hundreds of thousands of other titles. My social media circle is small. I don't have the money for huge ads. Or a network of influential contacts. Or a half-naked couple on the cover of my book.
All I have is a burning desire to make this work. And my e-mail.
And those bloggers' responses to my e-mails. The ones who've said, "Yes."
They've made all the difference.